World on a Page

Article excerpt

Byline: Tunku Varadarajan

Poisonous Books, Spoilsport Bankers

Honey, You Shrunk The Kids

Mario Monti took time off from his duties as prime minister of Italy last week to moonlight as a child-rearing guru--a sort of transnational Dr. Spock. Speaking in Tokyo, he blamed the current euro crisis on bad parenting by Germany and France. Recalling their fiscal laxity in 2003, a time when he, as a member of the European Commission, had called for sanctions against Berlin and Paris, Monti said, "If the father and mother of the euro zone are violating the rules, you could not expect [countries such as] Greece to be compliant." Poor widdle Gweece!

Romney Rage

American foreign policy promises to be a festival of fireworks if Mitt Romney wins the presidential election. Weeks after characterizing China as a "prosperous tyranny" (which followed an earlier promise to sanction Beijing for currency manipulation), the Republican contender for the White House trained his ire on Russia, calling it "our No. 1 geopolitical foe." Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's president, dismissed these words as "smacking of Hollywood," setting up the match nicely for Romney's return of serve.

Indian Kowtow

"Atithi devo bhava," goes an ancient Sanskrit aphorism--a guest is like God. Eager to make Hu Jintao feel as much at home in New Delhi as he does in Beijing, India rounded up hundreds of Tibetan activists on the eve of the Chinese premier's visit. There are 100,000 Tibetans domiciled in India, the most famous of whom--the Dalai Lama--sought refuge in the country in 1959. In recent years, however, India has been unable to locate its backbone on the matter of its resident Tibetans, arresting them in numbers whenever a Chinese dignitary sets foot on Indian soil.

King Versus Queen

There's no killjoy quite like a disgruntled central banker. Speaking before a parliamentary economic committee, Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, warned that celebrations for Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee could retard growth and harm the economy. "We will lose an extra day's work," King grumbled, pointing a picayune finger at the special holiday in June to mark Her Majesty's longevity. …